Before We Say I Do by Emerald Barnes ( @emeraldbarnes )
Before We Say I Do
About the Book:
Following the best-selling first book of the series, Entertaining Angels, comes Before We Say I Do, An Entertaining Angels Short Story.
Chase Sanders and Madison Andrews are about to declare their love for one another in the most sacred of ways. Everything has been going perfectly, especially when an old friend returns to town to stand by Chase’s side on their big day. But is Zach there to see their union, or is he concealing the truth of why he’s actually back in town?
Chase has lived perfectly fine without his father around, but now that his father is divorcing again, he is seeking forgiveness. Chase can’t look at his father, let alone forgive him.
Before Chase and Mads can say “I Do,” Chase must first learn to let go of the past before the dark forces that haunt his nightmares come to life.
Turning from my thoughts of being human again, I watched Chase closely. He fiddled with his
own tie, straightening it when it didn’t need straightening. Something was on his mind, and little did he
know there would be a lot more on his mind later.
“Is everything alright?” I asked.
“Is Mads okay?”
“Of course. Why do you ask? Are you worried about her?”
“Well, it’s just that you’re here . . .”
I tried to put on my best smile. “Madison is perfectly fine. Honest.”
Chase sighed audibly. “I cannot tell you how happy I am to know that Mads is okay.” His lips
tugged into a half-smile, and I wondered if he was still a bit concerned.
“Chase, as long as she has you, she’ll be fine,” I assured him.
He laughed nervously. “I hope you’re right, Zach.”
“Trust me. I am.”
Chase sat down across from me. “Have you seen her?”
I felt my lips curl into a smile. “Yes, and she’s absolutely beautiful.”
Chase bit his bottom lip, and I knew he was probably thinking about their marriage. I would
never know such a union, but I rejoiced that these beautiful humans were about to embark on a new
phase of their journey together with God.
“You know. Andy’s right,” Chase said, “I want you by our side when we get married. Do you
think you could be my secondary best man?”
“It would be my great pleasure and honor, Chase.” I had never been honored in such a way
before, and it brought tears to my eyes. I just hoped he still felt that way after he learned the real reason I
Chase grinned. “You don’t know how much that means to me. To us. I know Mads would love to
have you up there, too.”
I smiled, hoping it didn’t waver. “I look forward to it.”
INTERVIEW with Emerald Barnes via Vox Dei:
What was your inspiration behind the story?
My inspiration for Before We Say I Do was my readers. That may sound cliché, but everyone who read it fell in love with Chase and Mads, and I, honestly, so did I. I wasn’t ready for their story to end, so I decided to continue and show them getting married. But I, also, knew there was an unanswered question from Entertaining Angels. What happened with Chase’s dad? Keeping with my themeof angels helping humans, I decided to answer that question and bring back a favorite character, Zach.
Tell us a bit about your book.
Before We Say I Do is about Chase and Madison on their wedding day, but Chase has to face his past in a huge way. His dad is seeking forgiveness, but Chase doesn’t know if he can forgive him for what he did to him years ago. Chase has to learn that forgiveness may not be easy, but it’s also necessary.
Coffee or tea?
Coffee as a hot drink, but I’m a Southern girl. I like my cold sweet tea. I take my coffee with a lot of creamer and sugar! I don’t only need the caffeine, I need the sugar rush! Plus, I’m not a big fan of the bitter taste of coffee without it.
What kind of reader are you?
Multi-tasker, must finisher, multiple books at one time I’m a “must finisher.” I have to finish a book before I can start another one. I don’t like trying to focus so much on two or more different stories.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I’m usually spending time with my nieces and nephews – five of them. I can’t imagine a day without them. When I’m not with them, I’m usually reading, watching TV, blogging or studying the Word.
Who is your role model/inspiration?
My role model has always been my mom. She’s always talked to me about my life, questions I’ve had about God, and she’s always given me the moral support I need. She’s never let me doubt my dreams, and she’s always been my biggest prayer warrior. My mom and dad as a unit have been my biggest cheerleaders. They have given me everything I needed to support my dreams, and they have prayed for me relentlessly.
Vox Dei’s motto is “Christian Books for a messy world.” Do you find this is true with your books?
Oh yes. I definitely find that it is true regarding Before We Say I Do. We all get caught up in not wanting to forgive someone for how they treated us, what they said, or how they acted around us. Forgiveness isn’t easy, but God said that we had to forgive for us to be forgiven. That is my theme in this short story, learning to forgive when it’s one of the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but I also want people to know that when you forgive, the bitterness and resent building up in your heart will disappear, and you’ll be free.
When did you come to know Jesus?
I was in fourth grade. It was September of 1996, and my mom and dad had just gotten a phone call about how one of my best friends had acceptedJesus into her life. I was lying in bed that night and called my dad (my youth pastor also) back to talk to me. I asked him what it would take to get to know Jesus, and he told me. That night, I asked Jesus into my life, and I haven’t regretted that decision. I’d always been in church, and I’d known about God. So, it felt like the best decision was to go ahead and ask Him into my heart as well.
How has your faith changed over time? That’s a huge question for me because it’s changed considerably. I was raised Free Will Baptist. My dad was the pastor at almost every church I’ve ever attended. One day, as we all know, it’s time for pastors to move on, and it was time for us. We took a few Sundays off to pray about where we needed to go next. My brother-in-law came from a non-denominational background, so we gave his old church a try. We haven’t looked back since, and I’ve had a considerable change in the way that I’ve seen God and the Bible. It wasn’t that I wasn’t learning it in the FWB, but I have had a deeper connection with God this go-around. I pay more attention to the Bible, and I spend more time in prayer now. It was a huge change for me, but it’sopened my eyes up to what I thought was impossible, but it’s not impossible. I feel like where I’m at now is where I was always meant to be, and that makes a huge difference in my spiritual life. It deepens it. And it’s where I need to be spiritually to write the books I am writing.
I’ve heard that the characters in Entertaining Angels series are your favorites. Why is that?
They are. For some reason, Madison, Chase and Zach have wound their way into my brain, and they won’t let go! I love them so much, that I’ve continued writing about them. Before We Say I Do continues their story, and I found a way to work them into book two when they originally weren’t going to be in it at all. I fell in love with Madison because I saw her grow from a timid, shy young woman to a confident one. And Chase, well, I’m going to be completely honest, he’s my ideal type of man (if he was older)! But, they’re so wonderful. I can’t help but love them!
What kind of legacy do you expect your writing to leave?
I hope that the legacy I leave behind with my writing is that teens and women will learn to love themselves and overcome whatever obstacle is holding them back. My Entertaining Angels series is just about that. It’s stories to help heal, and I hope that I’ve accomplished that in some way.
ABOUT Emerald Barnes:
Emerald Barnes graduated with a B.A. in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing at Mississippi University for Women. She resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it. She’s an auntie to three beautiful nieces and two handsome nephews. She’s a Whovian, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a familyoriented person. God is number one in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor
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